DRAG STRIP, 1958 (Part 2)
© Chuck Klein, 2014
You gotta’ love me, Baby
And love my hot rod.
Moon caps, three-twos and 4-1-1
- That’s all I got!
Don’t ya love me, Baby
Even though that’s all I got?
At the Knights’ meeting we were all standing around the bare rails of our club dragster and everyone seemed enthused; that is until, Gil, our president, passed out tickets we would have to sell for the club dance. To build this awesome machine we would individually have to cough up the bread if we didn’t sell enough tickets. We were aiming for the “C” class as our engine was a six-cylinder Jimmy. We figured we could get more trophies than competing against the big V8s. Well, that and the 6-banger were donated by a local junk yard and one of the guys had made a 3-carb log-type intake manifold.
The dragster project took up two bays of our 6-bay club garage. Two others were currently being used by members for their own work; Bill was adding a set of two-fours, dual point distributor and a 097 Duntov high-lift cam in his ’55 two-tone black and white Chevy sedan with primer spots where he had removed the hood and trunk emblems. Next to him, Sam was replacing the fuel pump on his Caddy-powered ’49 Mercury…a Merc-o-Lac. It was nosed and decked, but the entire car was painted in gray primer.
After the meeting, and though it was a school night, I followed some of the guys - in my ’57 Ford two-door Custom - to Carter’s drive-in for a Coke. There I joined Big Bart in his ’35 Ford many-door.
"Long time no see," I said, climbing in the front seat.
"Yeah, no lie. I've been keeping my nose to the old grindstone. Between work and this damn night school, I haven't had time to see Janice or work on the '49 or anything. What have you been doing besides pounding your puddin'?"
"Hey, man, I dig ya ‘bout school. Now, they’ve got me going to religious school on Saturday and regular Sunday school on Sunday for my confirmation."
"Oh yeah? I was confirmed and it was a pain in the ass," Big Bart said.
"I didn't know you were Jewish."
"I'm not. It was a Catholic confirmation.”
"Catholic, eh? You believe in ghosts and stuff?"
"Naw, I'm an agnostic, asshole," BB said.
"Now, I always knew you were an asshole, but I didn't know you were some kind of fancy asshole. What kind of asshole is an agnostic asshole?”
“It’s agnostic . . . comma . . . asshole.”
“Wow! That’s impressive. What’s an agnostic comma asshole?” I continued to pretend ignorance.
"Klein! One of these days I'm going to kick that smart ass of yours," Big Bart joked. "An agnostic is one who doesn't necessarily believe in God, but doesn't necessarily not believe either," BB said.
"Hey…that's cool. It's sorta like, cover your ass on both sides. If, when the time comes and there is a God, then you can say, `Hey man…I never said I didn't believe in you'. And if there ain't no God then you can say you were cool all along, right? Not to change the subject, but when are we going to finish the forty-nine?” I asked.
“This weekend. I’ve found a used manifold with six Stromberg 97s all ready to go. Can you come over Saturday afternoon?”
BB’s “other” car was a ’49 Ford into which I helped him load a Mercury flathead engine that he had ported, polished and relieved, bored and stroked and installed a full-race Clay Smith cam. “Six-deuces? Man this is really gonna be a fine D-Gas machine! Remember our discussion on boring out the venturi on my Crosley carburetor and how you thought it wouldn’t work? Well, we all know it did. Now, I’m going to do it to the carb on the fifty-seven now that I’ve got a spare one.”
“How’d you come up with a spare carb?” BB asked.
“I had a little fire that I forgot to tell ya about. I was testing some nitromethane and it accidently caught fire. The good news is, the insurance company paid for the carb replacement and the repaint of the hood. The really good news is I got to keep the old carb. I cleaned it up, reinstalled it and it works just fine. The only actual damage was the stud for the air cleaner. I cut it off with a hacksaw. Who needs an air cleaner!”
Why don’t you just put a four-barrel on it?"
"I don’t have the scratch, man. Besides it’s more fun to experiment, especially since the insurance company is payin’.” continued on next page...
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